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April 2012


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Rare Bird Alert <[log in to unmask]>
Peder Svingen <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 1 Apr 2012 20:41:16 -0600
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Peder Svingen <[log in to unmask]>
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This afternoon (1 April), I found an apparent hybrid Common Goldeneye
X Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula X B. islandica) in the Duluth
Harbor, between 32nd and 33rd Street on Park Point. The bird showed an
intermediate head shape and intermediate facial marking, with a
reduced amount of black on its scapulars and a row of white rhomboidal
spots that resembled those found on Barrow's. At the same time, it
completely lacked the black shoulder spur of Barrow's, and the extent
and shape of the black on its posterior flanks and crissum appeared
identical to that of the male Common Goldeneyes. Its bill was stubby
in shape and smaller than the bill of adjacent Commons, i.e., its bill
was more like Barrow's. Its facial mark was teardrop-shaped (neither
rounded like Common nor crescent-shaped like Barrow's) and the
superior aspect of this white facial mark did not rise to the level of
the bird's eye.

The bird was found amongst a flock of approximately 2,700 diving ducks
(including 100s of goldeneyes), so it may be difficult to refind. Note
that I was unable to refind the male Barrow's Goldeneye today (last
seen in the harbor 22 March), so could not directly compare the hybrid
to the Barrow's that has overwintered in Duluth since its discovery 19
November 2011.

This is the third consecutive year that an apparent hybrid between
these two species has been documented in Duluth, and the fourth record
of this taxon for Minnesota. The first was documented by the late Jim
Mattsson at Point Douglas, Washington County, 1 January 2008. Previous
Duluth records were 2 February 2010 (Loon 82:111) and 27 November-19
December 2010 (Loon 83:108). An article documenting these Minnesota
records and summarizing reports of this hybrid in North America was
published in The Loon 82:147-150.

Peder H. Svingen
Duluth, MN
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